New Report: Avery Dennison (India) Pvt. Ltd.

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Please find here a report concerning the resolution of violations of freedom of association at Avery Dennison (India) Pvt. Ltd., a facility in Bangalore, India, that is a subsidiary of Avery Dennison Corporation. This facility produces printed labels and radio frequency identification (“RFID”) tags for a wide range of apparel brands, including Columbia Sportswear, which uses them in its collegiate licensed products.
 
The WRC investigated retaliation by Avery Dennison against company employees who sought representation by the Bangalore-based Garment and Textile Workers Union (GATWU). As detailed in the report, the WRC found that Avery Dennison violated the associational rights of workers at this plant by:

  • Improper payment by a factory human resources manager to the leader of an incumbent union at the factory and enlistment of that union’s leaders to oppose workers’ effort to seek representation by the GATWU;
  • Permitting supporters of the incumbent union at the facility to physically assault and issue threats of violence, criminal prosecution, and eviction from housing against employees supporting the GATWU; and
  • Conducting intimidating surveillance of workers’ nonviolent associational activities.

The WRC shared these findings with Avery Dennison, Columbia and other brands, as well as with the UK-based Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI), of which several of these other brands are members. The ETI initiated, at some of these brands’ request, a process of private mediation between Avery Dennison and the GATWU, which the parties ultimately agreed to have led by the former head of a global trade union body.

The WRC urged Columbia and other brands to require Avery Dennison to correct the violations of associational rights at the Bangalore facility. While Columbia initially questioned whether university codes applied to the facility, since it does not manufacture finished garments, after the WRC explained to Columbia that university standards cover all facilities involved in collegiate apparel production, Columbia accepted that university codes applied in this case and agreed to press Avery Dennison to correct the violations the WRC reported.

Subsequently, Avery Dennison contacted the WRC and agreed to corrective measures to address the WRC’s findings, which are detailed in this report. The WRC was further notified that, through the mediation process led by the former global union head, the company had agreed to recognize and bargain with a joint committee of both the incumbent union and the GATWU, thereby effectively implementing one of the WRC’s key remedial recommendations to the company.

Following extensive negotiations, Avery Dennison and the unions’ joint committee signed a new collective agreement covering employees at the Bangalore facility, which makes significant improvements in wages and benefits. Avery Dennison has also implemented voluntary deduction of union dues for employees who have joined the GATWU.

The WRC will continue to monitor the situation at the Bangalore facility. However, the WRC finds that recognition of the joint committee, along with its signing of the new collective agreement and the other corrective measures, substantially resolved the freedom of association violations, restored compliance with university codes of conduct in this area, and provides a firm basis for further progress in the facility’s labor conditions.

As always, please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.